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Bangladesh, who have given tough time to major teams on their home ground, suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of the weakest opponents of the Test format, Zimbabwe. The loss also brought a big blow to the Test status of “Tigers”. In the first Test played at Harare, Zimbabwe trounced Bangladesh by 335 runs, taking an unassailable lead in the two-match series, thanks to captain Brendan Taylor’s two hundreds and some spectacular bowling show by Kyle Jarvis and others.

[caption id="attachment_644" align="alignright" width="202"]Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor’s outstanding form continues. He scored hundreds in each innings and played a key role in team’s win (Photo: AFP) Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor’s outstanding form continues. He scored hundreds in each innings and played a key role in team’s win (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

It is Zimbabwe’s biggest win in the game’s history in terms of runs, and a continuation of dominance over Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe have a record of winning six matches against Bangladesh and four of them were in Harare. Bangladesh have won only one. Now the thing what adds insult to injury for Bangladesh is that the second and last Test is also in Harare.

Bangladesh, specifically famous for their batting talent, have recently drew a Test against Sri Lanka, But how they miserably failed in Harare is evident from the scorecard of their both innings. First innings, 134 all-out; second innings, bowled out on 147. No batsman could even score a half-century in both innings.

Five consecutive defeats put a question mark on Zimbabwe’s return to Test cricket, but the recent win must have boosted their confidence. On the other hand, Bangladesh might have fallen victim to the overconfidence they had been showing ever since their good performance against Sri Lanka. Zimbabwe made the most of familiar conditions, especially the way skipper Taylor performed can be gauged only by the fact that he scored 273 in the match against Bangladesh’s total of 281 by in both innings. Having played a remarkable innings of 171 in the first innings, Taylor declared Zimbabwe’s second innings when he was not-out on 102, given a gigantic 483-run target to the opponents. His second innings was more crucial as he helped Zimbabwe amass a total of 227 by carving out partnerships of 79 and 64 with Graeme Cremer and Keegan Meth, respectively, at a time when the team had lost six wickets on 84. With a huge lead, Talyor declared the innings and Bangladesh had to return to the ground. But they failed to extend the game to the fifth day as they were bowled out on the fourth day.

Bangladesh won the toss on the first day and put the hosts to bat who accumulated a good total of 389 runs mainly because Taylor’s 171. After Zimbabwe lost three wickets on 65, Taylor added 127 runs with Malcolm Waller on the fourth wicket and later partnered with Graeme Cremer to put another 106 runs in the kitty, taking Zimbabwe away from 300-run mark. Although the hosts lost wickets of Taylor and Cremer in succession, the team managed to add 45 runs in the last two wickets.  Waller scored 55 off 138 and Cremer scored 42 off 140, while Taylor played a riveting knock of 171 off 324 which included two sixes and eight fours. Zimbabwe’s first ended on 389 on the second day after the tea break.

Bangladesh Robiul Islam and Enamul Haque (Junior) took three wickets apiece, while Rubel Hossain and Sohag Gazi took two wickets each.

Bangladesh started off their first innings well; they were 95 for one when the second day ended. But the morning session of the third day proved disastrous for them. The trio of Keegan Meth, Shingi Masakadza and Kyle Jarvis ruined Bangladesh’s batting line-up as they lost six wickets on 134 by the lunch break. Zimbabwe’s bowlers have done their job remarkably well and they didn’t allow the opponents to add a single run after that and restricted them to 134. Jahurul Islam and Mohammad Ashraful, who scored 43 and 38, were the leading scorers. Shahriar Nafees was the only other batsman who could enter double figures. Bangladesh losing last seven wickets off just 11 runs is enough evidence of the team’s poor show.

Jarvis and Masakadzan took four wickets each and Meth took two. Having taken the huge lead of 225 in the first innings, Zimbabwe came to ground much confident in the second innings. They stood firm even after losing four wickets on 27, thanks to captain Taylor’s heroics from the other end. He took score to 227 runs managing partnerships with Cremer and Meth. Zimbabwe declared the innings on the same score on the first session of the fourth day and gave a 483-run target to Bangladesh, who once again failed to stand the hosts’ bowling attack.

In the second innings, Cremer took four and Jarvis took three wickets, while Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura each sent one batsman to pavilion.

Brendan was given man-of-the-match award for his superb performance.

Besides Zimbabwe’s outstanding batting and bowling efforts, their fielding was also extraordinary. They took some mind-blowing catches, including Mushfiqur Rahim’s catch by Brendan Taylor in the second slip on the last day Rabiul Islam’s catch by Jarvis in the same innings.

The second Test starts from April 25 in Harare.
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